Joseph in the House of Potiphar

(Genesis 39)

Joseph was Jacob's little baby, and Jacob loved him very much. That was a good thing.

But then, Joseph's older brothers got jealous and were mean to him. That was a bad thing.

Jacob gave Joseph a wonderful new coat. A good thing.

But that made Joseph's brothers REALLY jealous. A bad thing again. Joseph's brothers were so jealous, they decided to kill him. A really bad thing! 

But, at the last minute they decide NOT to kill him - a good thing - but to throw him into a pit instead. 

Bad again!

But then Joseph's brothers decide to drag Joseph OUT of the pit, a good thing - and sell him to some traveling merchants, so he would never see his family again.

Joseph had to be wondering WHAT was going on!

But life is like that.

Sometimes there are good times and sometimes there are bad times. But ALL the time, God is with us. But even more than that, sometimes God uses what seem like the worst times to do something wonderful. THAT'S what was going on!

Meanwhile, the caravan of traveling merchants arrived in Egypt. Now, I suppose they could have sold Joseph to just any old Egyptian, who lived in some out of the way part of town, and we would have never heard of him again.

But that's not what God had in mind.

Instead, they sold Joseph to a man named Potiphar. And Potiphar just happened to be an officer in the court of the Pharaoh, the king of all Egypt. 

Well, of course it didn't just happen that way. God planned it that way!

But Potiphar wasn't just any officer in the Pharaoh's court, he was the captain of the Palace guard. He was a big cheese in Egypt, and Joseph was in an important place.

So Joseph went from a pit in the wilderness to live in the beautiful house of a very rich and powerful man in the land of Egypt. A bad thing turned into a good thing again!

God was with Joseph, and he blessed him.

Everything Joseph did for his master turned out well. Really well. His master Potiphar saw this, and he was no dummy. He said to himself, "Why don't I just let Joseph run everything, and then EVERYTHING will turn out well!"

And that's just what he did.

Potiphar made Joseph his personal servant, and he put him in charge of all that Potiphar owned.

And God was with Joseph. God blessed Potiphar's house and all the crops in his fields and everything he owned. 

All Potiphar had to worry about was what was for dinner!

But, even then, trouble was just around the corner. Again!

Okay, Joseph was a hunk. He was handsome and strong, and if he was alive today, you would probably see his picture on People magazine while you were waiting in line at the grocery store to buy a Milky Way candy bar.

The trouble hiding around the corner was Potiphar's wife. She saw how strong and handsome Joseph was. And she wanted him.

"Kiss me!" she said to Joseph one day while no one was looking.

Potiphar was away, working in another part of the house. Potiphar's wife grabbed Joseph as he walked by. "Kiss me!" she said again.

"I can't do that!" Joseph said. "My master trusts me! He has put me in charge of everything he owns. It is just like everything is mine. But he is your husband. How can you ask me to kiss you??!! That would be wrong! And God would not be pleased with me at all."

But Potiphar's wife would not give up.

Day after day, she secretly grabbed him and tried to kiss him. But Joseph always said no.

But one day, there was no one at home. Potiphar and all the other servants were away. And Potiphar's wife saw her chance. She grabbed Joseph by the robe and wouldn't let him go.

"I will not kiss you!" Joseph said, and he ran away so fast he left his coat in her hand.

Now Potiphar's wife was angry. She was so angry that Joseph would not have her that she decided to get even. She had a terrible idea.

She screamed!

"Help me!!! Help me!!! This servant of my husband came into my bedroom and tried to kiss me!!!" By then, the other servants had come back home, and they came running into her bedroom and saw her standing there. "Look!" she said, "When I screamed, he tried to run away. He ran away so fast, he left his coat!"

That night, she told the same lie to her husband. "See, what I am saying is true. He came into my room. He even left his coat!"

Potiphar was furious.

He called for his servants at once. That very night they broke into Joseph's room and dragged him out of bed, and they threw him into a cold, dark prison cell.

Things looked pretty terrible for Joseph again.

And maybe that night, Joseph sat in his cell, shivering and scared. Maybe he sat there with his head in his hands wondering why all this was happening. "God, where did you go?" He might have even cried. 

If only he could see the amazing things God had planned. 

But he couldn't just then. For now, all he could do was trust in God, because God was with him. But, boy, it sure didn't seem like it.

But that's how it is. Even in the darkest times, God is still with us. And even then God is at work on a wonderful plan.

Always remember that.
All pictures and story © Paul Dallgas-Frey